Pervasive Mobility Creates New Business Challenges

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Enterprises must navigate a chaotic mobile environment that requires new technologies, new IT skills and far more comprehensive governance policies.

The results have been transformative, according to Eberhard. Instead of manually pulling forms and documents from email in-boxes and SharePoint servers via a VPN—with the company relying on accurate metadata tags to track and find everything—managers now view pending AFEs within a task queue. They are able to review and electronically sign documents from a PC, laptop or a mobile device. In addition, the accounting team can view the status of everything from a central dashboard.

"The process changed overnight," Eberhard says. "It was a dramatic shift that completely altered workflows and work processes."

Markwest supports only iOS devices and has a BYOD policy in place. The biggest challenge associated with the initiative, Eberhard says, was overcoming opposition to employees using personal identification numbers on their personal devices.

"We mandated the use of PINs as a basic security option," he notes. "We addressed the issue with executives and built basic protections into the overall security strategy."

The company is now looking to expand the reach of Oracle 11i apps to the mobile arena and push mobile business processes out to additional groups of employees.

Coordinating and Optimizing

ABI's Shey says that as organizations move forward and adopt pervasive mobility, the need to coordinate and optimize IT systems is critical. This includes everything from back-end systems to customer-, partner- and employee-facing apps.

"Businesses must ensure that data flows between systems, and that tools and apps display correctly on mobile browsers," he says. Unfortunately, industry research indicates that only about half of the top 500 Websites are mobile enabled. "There is still a gap between where companies are and where they need to be," Eckert warns.

It's also critical to address governance issues and ensure that a strong mobile framework is in place. "Organizations must use mobile device management tools, but also carefully define processes and security requirements along the way," Capgemini's Alvarez says. "Once an organization clearly defines its business requirements and governance issues, it can build an effective road map."

Make no mistake: Mobility is moving into the mainstream of the enterprise. It's helping organizations connect tasks and processes in far more efficient and direct ways. In the end, PwC's Eckert says that IT departments must view mobility as far more than the sum of smartphones, tablets and apps.

In a post-PC world, "The device becomes the application, and everything else essentially becomes a menu item for presenting specific functionality and an array of powerful capabilities," Eckert summarizes.

This article was originally published on 2013-06-28

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for Baseline.

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